30 November 2022: Poverty stats; Cheaper trains; Naughty EU nations; Crazy TikTokkers; A dangerous med; & Other stuff.

Awake, for morning in the bowl of night has flung the stone that puts the stars to flight.

And, lo, has caught the sultan’s turret In a noose of light!

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable

                 – Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’ 

Cosas de España/Galiza

The problem of growing poverty isn’t confined to the UK, though you’d certainly think so from the British media.

More here on cheap trains now available to some lucky folk in Spain. I believe I’ve read that short-haul flights have been hit hard, not surprisingly. I’ve certainly read that France is considering banning these. Here in Galicia, we need a real AVE high-speed train before they ban domestic flights to our 3 small (and uncompetitive) airports in Santiago de Compostela, La Coruña and Vigo. 

In a Mallorcan school yesterday, the teacher of catalán refused to teach pupils who were displaying a Spanish flag in the classroom. Instead of suspending her for excess nationalism, the school sent 30 kids home for the day. [Query: Was she teaching catalán, malloriquín or valenciano? They aren’t exactly the same, I understand. Though I’ve just read that La RAE dice que el valenciano, el catalán y el mallorquín son la misma lengua. But what do they know about life on the streets? And official EU documents are often printed in both catalan and valenicano. Albeit with only a couple of changes, it’s said.

The EU/Europe

Viktor Orban’s political adviser has warned Brussels that Hungary is fighting a “war on woke” against the European Union that is more important than funding. This will continue even if Brussels unlocks billions of euros in funding at a time when the central European country faces a grim economic winter. Tomorrow the EU Commission is expected to renew a block on funding worth over €13bn, more than 8% of Hungary’s annual GDP. To unfreeze the money, as inflation and energy prices rocket and its economy contracts sharply, Hungary must meet a series of “milestones” to show that the country is fit to administer the cash, passing 17 pieces of legislation to meet EU anti-corruption criteria. Orban – Hungary’s populist, socially conservative and nationalist leader – is at odds with the EU over almost every burning political question of the day, ranging from sanctions against Russia to refusing migrant quotas and Brussels’s demands for full LGBT rights. I guess he knows that expelling the country from the EU ain’t an option for Brussels.

I think Poland is a tad troublesome as well, despite  being the largest recipient of North European taxpayers’ cash.


Can this really be true? Parisians are keeping their lunch break “sacred” and taking more time out of their working day than their European colleagues. They devote an average of 67 minutes to their meal, compared with 57 minutes in Madrid, 52 minutes in London and a derisory 47 minutes in Berlin. Are standards really falling among Madrileños? Or are there simply more Anglos in Madrid than Paris these days, confining themselves to a bocadillo at their desks? Or is it just a case of lies, damn lies and statistics?

The World Cup

Having said yesterday there was little talk among football commentators of strategy and tactics, I was pleased to learn about ‘counter-pressing’ last night, during the England-Wales match. From a – relatively unknown – ex footballer, not one of the famous ones paid a king’s ransom to spout tripe most of the time.

The Way of the World

Can you believe? . . . . For Generation Z,  posting highlights of their 9-to-5 jobs on TikTok is a way of “romanticising” them. Graduates who joined the workforce when the pandemic meant their jobs were home-based now find going into the office a novelty – a trend which  employers are happy to exploit. I bet they are.

Quote of the Day

The chief political adviser to Hungary’s prime minister insists that: There’s a need for a culture war against woke institutions captured by political jihadists imposing a progressivist agenda on traditional and socially conservative countries. You don’t have to agree with him, of course.

Did You Know

I recently discovered, by chance, that paracetamol increased my blood pressure (la tensión). But don’t take my word for it: Research shows regular use of paracetamol can quickly increase blood pressure. This emphasises why doctors and patients should regularly review whether there is a need to take any medication, even something that may seem relatively harmless like paracetamol, and always weigh up the benefits and risks. However, if you take paracetamol occasionally to manage an isolated headache or very short bouts of pain, these research findings should not cause unnecessary concern. This is particularly relevant, of course, for folk who arealready at increased risk of heart attacks and strokes’. 

Finally . . . 

To amuse . . .

A German friend says the 2nd from the right will soon be obligatory in Germany. Very accommodating . . .

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